JEDDAH: A group of 16 businesswomen from Switzerland visited Saudi Arabia from Nov. 25 to 29 to learn about the culture and opportunities offered by the Kingdom.
During their five-day stay, the delegation visited Arab News headquarters in Jeddah to learn firsthand about the newspaper.
The delegates expressed their interest in meeting the newspaper’s aspiring young women reporters.
“They are there!” said Ruth Metzler-Arnold, the head of the delegation and president of Switzerland Global Enterprise.
“They are highly qualified and motivated in their jobs,” Metzler-Arnold said. “I also really felt that at Arab News it’s women’s time, and men support and motivate them in a very positive way,” she said. “I’m strongly convinced that the media have to play their role even more in telling stories about successful female role models in business, government, society, science and other areas.”
Metzler-Arnold is visiting the Kingdom for the second time this year with a Swiss business delegation. “It’s the first time that I am leading a delegation of only businesswomen,” she said. “I tell you, it’s very different from mixed delegations.”
Metzler-Arnold, who served as the head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police, said that the diverse program gave the delegation many insights into doing business as a woman in Saudi Arabia and how to deal with business culture and to build personal relationships.
“The key for success for foreign business people is to come personally to the Kingdom and not to think that one can start a business from home,” she said.
She said that she was deeply impressed and excited about the openness in the conversations she and her delegation have had on Vision 2030 and the way to achieve it, culturally and business wise. “I’ve felt the commitment and the eagerness of Saudis to go through these changes and to reach the achievable dream.”
“If Saudi women continue at this pace, and I think you will, the empowerment of women will be faster than anyone — in and outside of KSA — would have thought one year ago. Everyone knows that the success of women in this country is part of Vision 2030.”
The delegation, which was accompanied by Swiss Ambassador Heinrich Schellenberg, his wife Grisel Sandoval Schellenberg, and Deputy Head of Mission Anna Mattei, also touched on several women’s issues in light of the radical yet positive changes taking place for women.
“I believe in Arab News as a Saudi success story to talk about,” said Swiss Commercial Counsellor Larbi Elattari.